Bill is boost for future of HBCUs
Lawmakers in Washington are taking steps to ensure historically black colleges and universities across the country get the funding they need to fulfill their important missions. With Orangeburg home to South Carolina State University and Claflin University, and Voorhees College and Denmark Technical College located in The T&D Region, fostering the future of the institutions is high on the agenda here.
Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has been joined by Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons and others in sponsoring the HBCU Partners Act, legislation requiring federal agencies to work more closely with HBCUs. The bill, introduced in February and already passed by the Senate, would make law of a 2017 executive order from President Donald Trump that instructed government institutions to work alongside HBCUs to locate opportunities for federal grants and government contracts for students.
Scott, the Senate’s only black Republican, announced introduction of the legislation during the Feb. 6 HBCU fly-in, an annual event during which HBCU presidents from around the country travel to Washington to meet with lawmakers and other officials. It would require federal agencies to submit annual agency plans to the secretary of education and the executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs. The plans must outline key goals and objectives within each agency aimed toward furthering HBCU success.
Those missions are of major importance in Orangeburg, where S.C. State, South Carolina’s only publicly supported HBCU, and Claflin, the oldest HBCU in the state, are vital across the board from educational opportunity to community quality of life. And they have major economic impact.